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Test of the Stability of Punishment Hypothesis - The Case of California, 1851-1970

NCJ Number
American Sociological Review Volume: 46 Issue: 6 Dated: (December 1981) Pages: 805-829
Date Published
25 pages
In this paper, we address the 'Stability of Punishment Hypothesis' with data from California for the period from the opening of the prison system in 1851 to 1970. The Stability of Punishment Hypothesis is formulated through recent modeling developments in macroeconomics, with which the presence of equilibrating tendencies can be explicitly represented, and for the first time direct tests are undertaken. No evidence for the hypothesis is found.
Building on the works of Emile Durkheim, a number of scholars have claimed that, for a given society over time and in the absence of major societal upheavals, the proportion of people subjected to punishment by the state closely approximates a constant. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1981